CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 13: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a grand slam in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 13, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 9-6 as Votto hit three home runs. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
I am getting a late start on the roundup, so this may be a short one today. The weekend was pretty busy, and it seems most of my weekend have been quite busy of late. There is plenty to talk about, so here you go:
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp left Sunday's game with a left hamstring injury. He had an MRI on it yesterday, and could miss a few games. Kemp said after the game that he wouldn't miss any games, but ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the following last evening:
Is it time to move Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira down the first base rankings? I think so. Teixeira is once again struggling at the plate this season, hitting just .223-.275-.369 with 4 HRs and 17 RBI this season, definitely sub-par performance for a guy who last year hit 39 HRs and drove in 111. As I have written previously, his BABIP is in a severe downward trend over the last 5 seasons, and his walk rate has been almost cut in half this season. Over the last 5 seasons, we have seen his BABIP drop and his swings outside the zone increase from just over 20% to just under 33% this season.
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis probably was not drafted in very many fantasy leagues this season, and is only owned in 2.8% of leagues per ESPN, and I can't explain it. Ellis went 2-4 with a HR and 4 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .317-.462-.512 with 3 HRs, 15 RBI and an excellent 19-21 strikeout to walk ratio in 82 at bats. There are plenty of other catchers who will put up better all around stats at the catcher position, but not many put up the OBP that Ellis does. He's getting his first shot at a starting role in the big leagues at the age of 31 and is making the most of it.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has turned his season around after a slow start to 2012. Stanton went 3-5 with a HR and 4 RBI yesterday. The home run was a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning off of Mets reliever Manny Acosta. Stanton has his in 25 of his 33 games this season, and is now hitting .289-.344-.529 with 7 HRs, 16 runs and 22 RBI thus far. He has 3 straight multi-hit games and has raised his BA 30 points over his last 4 games.
Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis has disappointed fantasy owners ever since his breakout 2007 season where he hit 23 HRs, drove in 112 and stole 18 bases. Many thought there was more power to come, but that was not to be. What Markakis has offered fantasy owners is a consistent BA and mid-teens power. Markakis went 2-4 with a run scored and 3 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .254-.346-.455 with 6 HRs, 18 runs and 18 RBI this season, with an excellent 26-19 strikeout to walk ratio. He is on pace to hit 28 HRs and drive in 83, but fantasy owners would like to see him return to stealing double digit bags along with the double digit power.
The Tigers signed first baseman Prince Fielder to a 9 year, $214 million deal this offseason, but Fielder has disappointed Tigers fans as well as fantasy owners year to date. He went 0-5 yesterday and is hitting .266-.340-.406 thus far, all well below his career average of .282-.388-.536, and has hit 5 HRs and driven in 16 runs. His strikeout rate is up a bit, and his walk rate is down to 9.7% from 15.5% last season. More importantly, his ISO has cratered from .267 in 2011 to just .146 this season. He is making less contact on pitches in the zone this season as his contact rate has dropped from 91.2% in 2011 to 83.2% this season. I'd like to say he will start hitting for more power real soon, but there is another guy in LA who switched leagues this season, and he is having a worse start to 2012 than Fielder.
A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was placed on the 15 day DL yesterday with a strained left hand, and the A's called up outfield prospect Michael Taylor to take his place on the 25 man roster. Colin Cowgill started Sunday's game vs the Tigers.
I am sure Rob, aka smokeymcpots, will address this in Monday's Closer Report, but the Mets are considering removing Frank Francisco from the closer role after yet another blown save yesterday. He gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk while retiring no one. Jon Rauch appears to be the safe choice to grab save opportunities going forward.